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The RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard is one of the best Canadian credit cards for travel in North America.
It isn’t the most versatile travel credit card on the market, but it does what it was designed to do so well that it doesn’t matter.
The RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard is one of my top recommendations for people just getting started in the travel hacking space and aren’t confident enough to deal with more complicated cards.
In fact, it is the first travel credit card I opened, so it has a special place in my heart!
The RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard gives you 250 Westjet dollars after your first purchase and free checked baggage for you and up to 8 people on the same reservation. You also get a free companion voucher every year you hold the card where a friend or family member can fly with you starting at just $119 plus taxes and fees roundtrip! The RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard is often overlooked because it doesn’t have a flexible points system, but you shouldn’t write it off because it can still be quite powerful when used properly.
I think the RBC Westjet Mastercard doesn’t get enough love.
After you finish reading this post, you’ll have a better idea of the pros and cons of the RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard and be in a better position to decide whether it is the right credit card for you or not.
I personally think most Canadians can benefit from holding the RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard in their wallet as long as you fly Westjet at least once a year and check a bag.
People sometimes overlook the Westjet Mastercard because it doesn’t have the same sexy points earning categories like some other credit cards.
The American Express Cobalt Card is a good example of a card with impressive points earning categories!
But just because it doesn’t have the best points earning categories doesn’t mean the RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard doesn’t have other perks to brag about.
Sometimes it is better to accept a lower points earning ratio because the other perks are so good, and that is the case in this scenario!
You get amazing value out of the RBC Westjet Mastercard as long as you take advantage of the other perks the card offers.
Here are a few of the highlights you should know about:
- Earn 250 Westjet dollars after you make your first purchase on the card
- Free first checked bag for you and up to 8 other people on the same reservation. This is my favourite perk, and I get hundreds of dollars of value out of it per year!
- Complimentary companion voucher each year you hold the card
- 2% back in Westjet dollars for every purchase made at Westjet
- 1.5% back in Westjet dollar for every non-Westjet purchase
Again, not the sexiest of perks.
But oftentimes a plain Jane is better in the long run than something ultra-sexy.
Pros and Cons
- Free checked baggage!
- Easy to earn and redeem points
- Comes with a free companion voucher each year
- Limited to only Westjet
- Not a great earning ratio
- Has a high minimum income requirement
You only earn and redeem Westjet dollars with this credit card.
This is both a pro and con.
It is a pro because it is super easy to understand the points system, and redemption isn’t complicated in the least.
It is a con because it is very limiting. You’re stuck to Westjet flights and a fixed value per point. You don’t have the ability to increase the value per point like in some other credit card point programs.
I like that it is super easy to redeem and understand Westjet dollars, but I wish they weren’t fixed value. One of the best parts of travel hacking is getting the most value possible, and that isn’t something you can do with Westjet dollars.
Westjet dollars can be redeemed for Westjet flights in any class of service. One Westjet dollar is equivalent to $1 CAD.
It is a straightforwards system, and even the least experienced travel hackers can understand and use it!
The sign-up bonus on the RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard is pretty generous!
You receive 250 Westjet dollars after your first purchase on the card.
There is no minimum spend, and you earn your sign-up bonus even if you only buy a coffee with the card!
RBC sometimes runs promotions where you earn between 350 Westjet dollars and 400 Westjet dollars after you spend $5,000 on the card in the first three months.
They run these promotions a few times per year, so you may want to wait until a promotion is on before applying for the card.
That is the best way to maximize the points you receive!
I will admit that the points earning ratio on this card are lacking.
- 2% back in Westjet dollars for every $1 you spend at Westjet
- 1.5% back in Westjet dollars for every $1 you spend on non-Westjet purchases
It is a little bit disappoint to say the least.
Other comparable cards like the HSBC World Elite Mastercard offer 6% back on travel purchases and 3% back on all other purchases.
So, the 2% and 1.5% back are falling behind industry standard. Hopefully we see them increase in the future!
One of the things I like about the Westjet program is you don’t have to worry about keeping track of different points categories and trying to use your card strategically.
All you need to remember is that Westjet purchases earn you more and all other purchases earn you a little bit less.
It is truly a no fuss credit card!
Westjet makes it painless to redeem Westjet dollars!
You simple search for a flight as you normally would but click the “pay with points” box before you hit search.
If you don’t hit the box indicating you want to pay with points, you have the option to pay with points in the payment section as well!
The only important thing to note is you have to be logged into your account in order to pay with points.
That seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised to learn how many people miss that crucial step!
That is really all there is to it, and it is really is that simple!
You can choose to pay part of the fare or the whole fare with your Westjet dollars, so it is quite flexible in that regard!
If you only have 20 Westjet dollars in your account, you can apply them to your fare and pay the rest with cash!
Best and Worst Way to Redeem Your Westjet Dollars
Most of the time I split the best and worst ways to redeem points into their own sections, but that didn’t make sense in this case since you can only redeem your points for flights and vacations through Westjet.
There isn’t really a best and worst way to redeem Westjet dollars.
You tend to fall into one of two camps:
- Use your Westjet dollars on flights that on sale to get the most value out of your rewards or
- Use your Westjet dollars on expensive flights that you don’t want to pay cash for
There isn’t a right or wrong way to use your Westjet dollars, and it comes down to how you want to use them!
You can save up your points to pay for an entire flight or vacation or apply whatever points you have in your bank to every flight even if it doesn’t pay for the entire trip.
Whatever works for you is great, and there aren’t really any pros or cons to either strategy.
Do what makes you happy and whatever you want to do with your points.
Just don’t let them expire!
I personally like to save up my points until I can pay for an entire flight, but it is all up to personal choice!
Westjet Companion Voucher
Each year you hold the RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard you receive a complimentary companion fare.
This includes the first year you hold the card too!
The companion fare allows you to book a second person on your reservation for a low price.
You have to be the one who makes the reservation, and you have to be on the reservation as well.
Essentially, you’re bringing a friend on a cheap holiday with you!
The companion voucher is good for a roundtrip flight, and there are two different tiers of fares:
- $119 CAD plus taxes and fees if flying in Canada or continental US
- $399 CAD plus taxes and fees for any other Westjet flight
This can be a good deal, but you have to use the companion fare strategically to make it worthwhile.
The best way to use your companion voucher is for a flight from Canada to a continental US destination.
US airports tend to have lower fees than Canadian airports, so you won’t be stuck paying a lot in taxes and fees.
For example, I used my companion voucher to fly from Edmonton to Orlando. The taxes and fees on that flight came to just over $50 CAD for the roundtrip flight.
In comparison, I looked into using my companion voucher for a flight from Edmonton to Ottawa, and the taxes and fees were over $400!
That is thanks to the very high fees Canadian airports are required to add onto the price of the ticket.
From those examples, you can see that the value of your companion fare goes way down when you fly within Canada.
The same goes for non-continental US destinations.
The base fee for a flight to Hawaii, Mexico, Caribbean, or Europe is $399 CAD.
That’s a pretty big chunk of cash, and you can often find inexpensive flights to these destinations if you look hard enough.
I’ve gotten Westjet flights from Edmonton to London for less than $650 before, so you aren’t saving that much money if you use your companion fare on a flight like that.
It all comes down to having a strategy and taking the time to find the best use of your companion voucher.
Of course, if you’re only going on one trip a year, use your companion voucher on that trip.
But if you fly Westjet multiple times per year, it is worth the effort to find the best value for your companion fare!
The annual fee on the RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard is $120.
There is no first-year fee waiver, so you are stuck paying the annual fee every year you hold the card.
I think that is a pretty fair annual fee considering the perks you get with the card.
Westjet charges at least $30 on your first checked bag, so each roundtrip you check a bag, you save $60 per person.
If you’re a family of four, you save $240 per roundtrip flight if everybody checks a bag.
Don’t forget that you and up to 8 people on the same reservation get their first bag checked for free!
There is hardly anything I hate more when flying than paying a fee to check a bag. The free checked bag is my favourite feature of this card, and I think it is worthwhile holding the RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard just for this perk alone!
Sigh. We need to talk about RBC’s qualifications to be eligible for the Westjet Mastercard and the problems I have with it.
In addition to the standard requirements of being the age of majority, being a Canadian resident, and having a Canadian credit file, RBC also requires you to have a personal income of $80,000 or a household income of $150,000.
That’s a really high minimum income requirement, and it excludes a huge chunk of the population from being able to access the Westjet Mastercard.
If you’ve read some of my other credit card reviews, you know I hate when credit card companies place such high minimum income requirements on theird cards.
It is elitist, classist, and discriminates against average people, women, and single people.
I understand that credit card companies place these restrictions on premium credit cards like the Westjet Mastercard as a way to protect themselves.
But, really, your income level has no correlation to how good you are with your money.
I would rather see a lower minimum income requirement of $50,000 to $60,000.
Not everybody can meet those requirements, but it makes the card much more accessible and widely available.
If you don’t need these high income requirements, you should consider getting an American Express card since there are no minimum income requirements.
Your income level is not an indicator of how good you are with money, nor does it have anything to do with your worth as a human being.
Don’t let a credit card issuer feel like it does!
Who Should Get the RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard
I think anybody who flies Westjet more than once or twice a year can benefit from having the Westjet Mastercard in their wallet.
You easily earn back the cost of the annual fee with the free checked baggage.
The companion voucher is the icing on the cake!
Westjet is increasing their destinations, and their prices are competitive.
I’ve found that Westjet is often the lowest price or the most convenient flight pattern for flights from Canada to Europe. Not always but quite often.
I’ve now flown to Europe on Westjet more times than I have on Air Canada. That is not something I ever thought I would say!
In the whole big scheme of travel, if you fly domestically, to the US, or to Mexico, chances are you’re flying Westjet more often than Air Canada.
And if that is the case, there is no reason not to get the RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard!
Who Should NOT Get the RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard
There are two people I don’t think will benefit from this card:
- People loyal to Air Canada
- People who travel mostly to Asia, South America, Oceania, or Africa (a.k.a anywhere Westjet doesn’t fly)
If you fall into one of those two categories, then you should probably skip the RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard.
You won’t get enough benefit from the card to justify the annual fee.
There are also other travel credit cards you would benefit more from holding.
Cards like the MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard or American Express Cobalt are probably better suited for your needs.
Alternative Credit Cards
I love the RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard.
I think it is a great card that most people- especially beginners- can benefit from.
That isn’t a popular opinion in the travel hacking space. A lot of people overlook this card because the points earning categories fall a bit short.
That’s fair criticism!
But it isn’t an excuse to ignore the other benefits the RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard has.
The free checked baggage and companion voucher give this card more value than you may think.
Travel hacking is often about finding the best points and travelling for free. Other perks and conveniences are often overlooked. That’s one of the flaws in travel hacking, and something we’re working on correcting!
I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment recommending this card to my loved ones.
My mom applied for it after I told her about it, and she loves it!
It all comes down to selecting a travel credit card that suits you and your travel needs.
The RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard is perfect for people who fly within North America frequently, who love checking baggages (me!), and are new to travel hacking.
It is an incredibly easy card to use and a good introduction to the travel hacking space.
The RBC Westjet World Elite Mastercard is also beneficial to experienced travel hackers.
It is card that nearly everybody can benefit from but not enough people are talking about!